Tom Petty’s last performance was the final night of his six-week-long 40th Anniversary Tour of the United States. The tour ended with three sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles (Florida-born Petty’s adopted hometown). Reviewing the second LA concert, Forbes reported that Petty seemed to not want the LA shows to end (despite a curfew). This, Forbes said, would not be surprising if you had caught any of the shows of this tour.
“The greatest gift for Petty fans has been watching him and the band have so much fun on stage”, Forbes wrote. “Dancing frequently with his arms waving, joking, leading the crowd in sing-along versions, Petty seemed to be enjoying himself just as much as the 18,000 fans were.” The next night was more of the same, except this was the end of the tour, the Saturday night in LA grand finale. For his closing song, Tom Petty played American Girl, an early single with which he often closed shows. Watch:
In its closing comments on the tour, Forbes wrote that it “felt like an opportunity to see a rejuvenated artist that is fully enjoying his role as a rock icon. And it’s been a great celebration for both Petty and the fans who’ve been there for much of the past 40 years.” A week later, on 2 October 2017, Petty was dead. He died of an accidental overdose from a combination of opioids and sedatives. Petty’s wife and daughter said he medicine was prescribed, mostly significantly for a fractured hip.
Petty was told on the day of his death that his hip injury was worse. In their statement, his wife and daughter wrote “[it] is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his overuse of medication. We feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident.” Petty slipped during a rehearsal and fractured his hip just as the Heartbreakers’ tour was getting started. Tom Petty decided to tour anyway. Here’s another song from his last performance:
Speaking to The Los Angeles Times, Petty’s widow Dana said Petty insisted on going on the road “He was very stubborn, His feeling was: ‘I can’t do that to my crew. I can’t do that to the fans. I can’t do that to my band’. … If he hadn’t gone on tour and had the hip replacement surgery [instead] , he would still be with us”
Speaking to Billboard, Dana said Tom Petty “had it in mind it was his last tour and he owed it to his long-time crew, from decades some of them, and his fans.” She said Tom was in fine spirits the day before his death: “He had those three shows in L.A. Never had he been so proud of himself, so happy, so looking forward to the future—and then he’s gone.”
Writing on Tom Petty’s death, the LA Times said that among the prescription drugs in “Petty’s system was the opioid fentanyl, the same drug on which Prince overdosed in 2016”. Fentanyl is a very powerful, very addictive synthesised opioid, significantly stronger than heroin. In the US there have been a number of big Court cases involving the pharmaceutical companies’ responsibility for the synthesised opioid crisis. With street drugs, the problem is even worse. Users don’t know if they’re getting fentanyl, or how much of it. It’s Russian Roulette. Please be careful out there. If you would like to see more from Tom Petty, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel. You can also visit his official website for more information.